Determining rear shock length

cr500taco

Adventurer
I need to figure out if my rear shock length is correct or not. Because, it seems like the up travel of the shock is way too short. My Tacoma is a '97 4WD with about 2.5" lift in the rear. It has 10" travel 5150 Bilstein shocks. I have a feeling that they are too long, because they only have about 3-4" of up travel with the bed empty. How do I figure out the correct length? Also need to figure out bump stop length.

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bkg

Explorer
take shocks off, get truck extremely twisted, measure each side - one for compression, one for extension... Error on side of being shorter so you don't use shocks as bump stops.
 

mtran

New member
I had the same problem with my 1st gen Tundra when I went to 10" shocks for the extra droop. Stock it took a 8" shock and the 10" shock bodies were just too long with an already limited uptravel. It seems like Tacomas and Tundras have the same problem in that the leafs are designed to ride relatively flat which means you'll have more droop travel than uptravel. Only way to gain back the uptravel was to go for more lift or go back to a 8" shock. I suspect your truck is the same, 10" will give you some extra droop but limit your uptravel. Going back to an 8" shock will get your uptravel back but then you'll lose any extra droop from the 10" shocks.
 

cr500taco

Adventurer
take shocks off, get truck extremely twisted, measure each side - one for compression, one for extension... Error on side of being shorter so you don't use shocks as bump stops.
That's what I want to avoid is using my shocks as bump stops. Right now, I think that I need really long bump stops, unless I get shorter shocks. That's why I need to figure out the correct shock length that I need.

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cr500taco

Adventurer
I had the same problem with my 1st gen Tundra when I went to 10" shocks for the extra droop. Stock it took a 8" shock and the 10" shock bodies were just too long with an already limited uptravel. It seems like Tacomas and Tundras have the same problem in that the leafs are designed to ride relatively flat which means you'll have more droop travel than uptravel. Only way to gain back the uptravel was to go for more lift or go back to a 8" shock. I suspect your truck is the same, 10" will give you some extra droop but limit your uptravel. Going back to an 8" shock will get your uptravel back but then you'll lose any extra droop from the 10" shocks.
Stock is 8" for my Tacoma, also. I was reading that for rock crawling you want longer droop travel in the shock (2/3 down travel, 1/3 up travel) and for high speed wheeling you want the the droop travel and up travel about even. Thinking about setting it up for 50/50 up and droop, since I don't plan on rock crawling. Which means that an 8" shock should work.

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downhill

Adventurer
If you rarely reach the limits of your shocks, ie: it's street driven truck, it won't matter much. If you do 4-wheel the truck, you should pick the best shocks and then install both appropriate bump stops and limiting straps. I never take anyone's word for the length of shock I need. Even shocks supplied in kits are often wrong. Bear in mind that the angle of the shocks relative to the axle affects the movement relative to the axle. If the shock is at an angle, the shock may move 3" when the axles moves 4". Measuring is the only answer.
 
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